Natural English - 'Connected Speech '

Many foreigners with a good knowledge of English still find it difficult to understand native-speakers, because they 'speak too fast' .  Yes this is true, but there are other reasons why it can be difficult to understand a native-speaker. 

These are some of the reasons why:

1)  THE SCHWA  -  UNSTRESSED SYLLABLES

   The Schwa indicates an unstressed syllable.  In language some syllables are stressed and others are unstressed.  For example, in the  word BANANA, there are 2 unstressed syllables. Therefore it is not spoken as BA-NA-NA,   but  BU-NA-NU, with the stress on the second syllable.  

So, where is the schwa sound in these words ? 

  DOCTOR,  TOMORROW,  SUMMER,  

 Schwa sounds also appear within sentences when we speak fast. 

 For example, in the sentence  IT'S FOR YOU.    the word FOR becomes FU.   In effect we say 'Its f ' you'

 Look at this sentence ' HOW ABOUT A CUP OF TEA' .  When we say this quickly it becomes ' How about a cup u' tea' 

So, where do you think the Schwa sound appears here ?  - 'I WAS GOING TO TELL YOU'  or this 'WHERE ARE YOU GOING TONIGHT ?'

2)  LINKING  - CATENATION

 here the end of one word joins the beginning of the next.   For example ' IS HE BUSY'  becomes 'IS-E BUSY?' or 'THIS ORANGE'  becomes  'THISORANGE'

3)  INTRUSION 

 This is where when 2 words are spoken quickly, a second sound appears. 

 For example ;  'DO IT'  when spoken quickly becomes  'DO WIT' .  To make pronunciation easier a W sound appears in natural speech.   In the same way,  GO OUT becomes  GOWOUT

4)  ELLISION 

 This is where a sound disappears.  For example  'NEXT DOOR'  becomes NEXDOOR, where the  T tends to disappear in natural speech.  Another example ' MOST COMMON' becomes  MOS-COMMON.

5)   ASSIMILATION 

This is where two sounds blend together to form a new sound.   For example,  DON'T YOU becomes  DONCHOU, where the T and the Y sound together become a  'CH' sound.   In the same way 'DID YOU?'  becomes   DI-JU,  where the  D and the Y sound combine to become a 'J' sound. 

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 This is only an introduction to natural speech, and I hope it hasn't confused!  If you would like to know more please enrol on one of my lessons


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